Each week we'll be surveying what the media, state agencies, insurance companies, and others report in terms of workers' comp fraud. Just like a police blotter, our workers' comp fraud blotter lists recent arrests, charges, convictions and investigations.
Workers' Comp Fraud Blotter - October 18, 2012
Laundry Owners' Dirty Dealings With Employees Sends Them To Jail For 40 Days and 40 Nights (CA) - Lonnieta McCallum and Kevin McCallum, the owners of Sudz Cyber Laundry, have been sentenced to 40 days in the county jail and ordered to pay fines and restitution as a result of their convictions for failing to maintain workers' compensation insurance and evading unemployment insurance taxes. Based upon complaints from former employees who had been fired, investigators found that the McCallums were classifying their employees as independent contractors so that they could avoid paying workers' compensation insurance and unemployment taxes. Read more
Husband Arrested In "Operation Dirty Money" Workers' Comp Fraud Check Cashing Scheme (FL) - Evelio Suarez, the husband of current defendant Zairis Cruz, has been arrested on multiple charges including conspiracy to commit workers' compensation fraud and grand theft, and approximately $1 million has been seized. Investigators determined that Suarez was the actual owner and operator of all of the businesses associated with I & T Financial Services, Inc, and Immigration and Tax Services, Inc., and that Cruz was an employee of the businesses. Read more
Employees Who Treated Injured Dogs Had No Insurance For Their Own Injuries (OH) - Lisa Hart, the owner and operator of Emergency Pet Clinic, has pled guilty to three felony counts of fraud for failing to obtain workers' compensation insurance coverage. Hart failed to maintain workers' compensation coverage after her policy lapsed in 2003. Interviews with current and former employees of the business confirmed that Hart did hire employees, and some of those employees had filed injury claims during the time period after the policy had lapsed. Read more
False Claim Of Punchy Customer Leads To Arrest For Defrauding Three Employers (IL) - Tracy Williams has been arrested on charges of workers' compensation fraud, aggravated fraud, insurance fraud, and perjury for allegedly defrauding three Chicago area employers, Mastertek Auto Repair, Thornton's Gas Station and Store, and Johnson Controls Inc., out of nearly $90,000 in workers' compensation payments. Williams filed four workers' compensation claims for injuries that never happened, including one claim where she lied about an injury to her left shoulder when she falsely claimed a customer punched her while on the job. Read more
Baseball Coach Strikes Out In Court (OH) - Mark Knose has guilty to one felony count of workers' compensation fraud for working while receiving benefits. While he was receiving temporary total compensation, Knose was employed by the Ross Local Schools as a varsity pitching coach and employed by the Champions of Baseball Academy as a coach and scout. Read more
Proof Of Driving Truck One Time Is Sufficient For Fraud Conviction (CA) - The Court of Appeal of California has affirmed the conviction of Irma Hammond for workers' compensation insurance fraud. Hammond claimed that as a result of a work-related injury, she was unable to drive a vehicle because of injuries to her shoulder and double vision and nausea caused by the medication she was taking for her injury, and thus the workers' compensation carrier was providing her transportation to medical appointments. Surveillance conducted by the carrier, though, showed Hammond driving her Dodge truck on one day, and the court of appeal upheld the trial court's finding that the prosecution had proven that Hammond had the requisite intent to defraud. Read more and download the opinion
Injured Worker Was Able To Work As a Drug Dealer (OH) - Michael Myers has pled guilty to one felony count of workers' compensation fraud for drug trafficking. A narcotics task force learned that Myers was selling narcotics that he received from his workplace injury claim. The task force had an informant purchase several pills that were later identified as prescribed to Myers and paid for by the Bureau of Workers' Compensation. Read more
Coroner's Employee Blamed Dead Body and Threatened To Shoot All Live Bodies (IL) - As a result of Operation "Cookie Jar," a continuing crackdown on government corruption in Chicago, Joel Neason, a former autopsy technician for the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, has been charged with workers compensation fraud. He is accused of filing a false workman's compensation claim alleging that he had injured his back while helping a funeral director lift a body. When he was told that he was the subject of an investigation, Neason threatened to "get his gun and shoot everybody." Read more
Ex-Wife Accessed Ex-Husband's Account to Find Information For Custody Hearing (OH) - December Combs has pled no contest to charges related to fraudulently creating an online account to access her ex-husband's workers' compensation claim information. Combs assumed her ex-husband's identity to obtain information for use at child custody hearings. Read more
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